Why Cybersecurity Is Where Talented Individuals Are Building Their Careers

Cybersecurity continues to make headlines, with a recent breach at Tesco Bank and the Chancellor unveiling a £2bn plan to “strike back” against cyber hackers. It is clear that public institutions, businesses, and our national infrastructure are being attacked on a daily basis by a mix of nation states, cyber spies, criminal gangs, hacktivists and “kids in bedrooms”, using in many cases, easily available and affordable tools. It’s taken a while, but finally this issue has landed at the top of the government’s priority list, which presents an excellent opportunity for individuals with the right skill sets.

Cybersecurity Is Very Much On The Boards Agenda

As a headhunter who specialises in helping organisations hire Chief Information Security Officers, I have seen the urgency that has overwhelmed my clients over the last couple of years as the potential implications of a security breach have hit home. The rise of the digital, data-driven economy – and the dawning appreciation of the consequences of the Internet of Things – means that Chief Executives have recognised this is the single thing that could destroy their business overnight. Although they might not understand how a breach might occur, they certainly know that it would be career-ending for them.

There Is A Talent Shortage In This Area

As the Chancellor alluded to in his announcement, there is a dearth of talent in this area. No longer are we talking about a lowly IT Security manager, who is a deeply techie individual, concerned only with employee security passes, firewalls and stopping people writing their passwords on post-it notes. The lonely geek who everyone called the Chief Business Prevention Officer and who no-one could understand a word he was saying. The modern CISO combines a high degree of technical understanding with sophisticated stakeholder management and leadership capabilities that enable him or her to operate effectively at Board level and to work in close collaboration with GCHQ, the police and government departments.

The CISO Role Has Significant Perks

The dearth of talent means that salaries are high, and increasingly individuals report to the CEO. The US and the UK are well ahead of the rest of Europe, India and the Middle and Far East. Today it’s a fantastic job: not only are you right at the heart of any organisation’s operational and strategic thinking, but you have a much broader geopolitical and economic perspective on what your organisation is doing. Added to that, because digital and data is now at the core of cybersecurity, CISOs are working with the most innovative and exciting thinkers around.

What’s Not To Like?

My advice to any technically capable and interested individuals, who can combine IQ and EQ (emotional intelligence) and who is keenly interested in the world and where it’s heading, is to build yourself a career in cybersecurity.

Vicky Maxwell Davies

As a Partner and CIO executive search consultant, Vicky specialises in executive and senior management appointments with an emphasis on IT, Cybersecurity and Digital leadership roles. Vicky is one of the three founding partners of Savannah Group and co-heads the CIO practice, where she recruits CIOs, CTOs, CDOs, CISOs and their top teams for a wide variety of clients, both large and small across multiple industry sectors. In addition, Vicky provides management assessment of senior executives and teams. As a headhunter, Vicky works with major organisations, public companies, privately owned and equity backed businesses both domestically and internationally. Vicky’s whole career has been spent in technology. She spent 10 years with IBM, before joining Oracle, where she had a successful career in the City of London. After moving to executive search, Vicky has achieved significant success over the past 20 years recruiting within the IT function and managing global executive search mandates on a wide range of senior IT leadership roles. Clients turn to Vicky when they require senior IT, Cybersecurity and Digital leaders including CIOs, CTOs, CISOs, CDOs, IT Directors and VPs of IT. Alongside direct client work, Vicky’s remit is to develop the IT practice internationally and to grow our IT recruitment team to mirror the extensive coverage and success that we enjoy across our other corporate functions, executive search and interim management practices. Specialities include: CIO recruitment, CTO Executive search, IT director executive search, CISO executive search, CDO recruitment, group CIO recruitment. Clients often find Vicky when searching for: CDO recruiter, CTO Headhunter, IT director, CIO head-hunter or CISO search consultant. Vicky was educated at the North London Collegiate School, University of Sussex and the Sorbonne and has a degree in French Studies. Vicky is a keen cyclist and reader – although not at the same time.

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